February 12, 2016


Portrait of a Sandhill Crane. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

With its loud, resonating, metallic cry you can often hear the Sandhill Crane before you see it, and it is certainly a sight to see! The Alaska Department of Fish and Game describes it as Alaska's largest game bird. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

While I photographed, these two pulled up a lot of what appeared to be grass. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

While I photographed, these two pulled up a lot of what appeared to be grass. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

These Mallards are just waking from an afternoon nap in the warm autumn sun at Sandy Ridge. The water is colored by the reflections of the leaves in the water and the late afternoon sun. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

While I photographed, these two pulled up a lot of what appeared to be grass. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

Back lighting again. This buck chased this herd of does across the East pond at Sandy Ridge Reservation. Once in the bush he chased the largest doe back into the water, before cornering her and exiting stage right. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

Upside down Gray Squirrel eating Norway Maple seeds. Norway Maple seeds mature in the Fall and they must now be just right, because there were at least a half dozen Gray Squirrels--certainly connoisseurs of nut and seed ripeness- working them Saturday morning. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

Once rare, hawks and other birds of prey have adapted to urban settings. This young Red Tailed Hawk devours a squirrel in an Eastern Heights back yard. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

Mute Swan is something of a misnomer. They are not silent--they are just not as vocal as other Swans.Their voice is startlingly small--often a thin, tinny whistle that would seem more appropriate to a much smaller bird. The male-the Cob- on the left, can be distinguished from the female-the Pen-by the larger black knob on the beak.Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

Group of Bird Watchers seem waist deep in goldenrod at Sandy Ridge on a bright sunny September morning chilly nights bring more and more waterfowl into the area. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

Plovers were once a prominent game species, but have not been on the game list for many years. Market hunting and now loss of their favored shoreline habitat have cut their numbers greatly. These were photographed working the shoreline at Sandy Ridge. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

Egret fishing in timber reflections with ducks. This egret was one of several fishing the shallow waters at Sandy Ridge Monday morning. The ducks appear to be a mix of Wigeon and female Ruddy Ducks. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

A Donald Drake looks a little bedraggled in his fall travel plumage, but it is safer-- less noticeable to hawks and other predators. Photographed at Sandy Ridge, North Ridgeville, Ohio. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

August 2011 Lorain Lakeview Park. Lifeguard at work with triathlon swimmers who panicked on big water. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

When I first saw these young Black Ducks perhaps 5 weeks ago they were half this size and their mother had them firmly in tow. She, in fact, was no more than three feet away from them when this photo was taken. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

Mayfly hatch at Marina Internationl Lorain Ohio on Sunday morning. This Mayfly had just emerged form former skeleton and was resting in the sun on a Cola machine on the dock. It was a wonderful morning to be alive. Photo by Dr. Tom Mahl.

Native Elyrian, Byron Scarbrough was raised in the Sportsman tradition with a love of the outdoors A native Elyrian, Byron was raised in the Sportsman tradition with a love of the great outdoors and respect for land. An avid angler, he's fished from the Canadian Arctic to Florida's Coastal Islands and everywhere else he could in between. A certified Whitetail Clinic Instructor, he's harvested multiples of nearly every legal game species in Ohio. He is a graduate of OSU School of Journalism and has written several books in the area of military history. He is a clay busting, mountain biking, lap swimming, geo-caching, horse riding, fish catching, line running, canoe paddling, trail hiking, arrow slinging, pine cone eating, wilderness camping fool, who will do almost anything to avoid working in a cubicle.

Smokin Fish

The manager Carrie Ardick-Wormsley of Lorain's Ardick Seafood said they have been smoking 30-40 pounds of fish every other week for 20 years, and two to three times a week during holidays.

The smokehouse, the icehouse and salt were a basic part of the world in which my grandparents reached their 30s and beyond. I can still remember a hot Summer day as a group of us chased the iceman for the chips that flew from his pick as he cut icebox ice for customers on Kenyon Ave. in Elyria. Decades Read More…

Hike With Ike

Everyone calls them "buzzards" but no, they are Turkey Vultures. You'll often see them riding thermal swells circling around and around. The old Western movies would have you believe they are waiting for an animal (or a thirsty cowboy) to die, but usually not.

You might remember my dog, Eisenhower, from our adventures hunting shed deer antlers last winter. In case you thought I only let him out to hunt birds, rabbits or sheds, I thought I’d share with you one of our recent outings. Thomas Jefferson didn’t like the form of exercise we’d call “sports” today. He felt Read More…

Glassing for Deer


This time of year I spend a lot of time “glassing” or looking through my binoculars and spotting scope for whitetail deer, and at this time of year they are seemingly everywhere at the right hours. Walking around the lake there’s a young couple on the bank fixing a couple of lines, completely unaware that Read More…

Harmful Algae Blooms

Remember that bit of information I gave you some weeks ago about how the forecast for the Lake Erie algae bloom was rather moderate this year? Yeah, well, about that… During the first weeks of spring, environmental agencies monitor phosphorous levels in the Maumee River system to estimate from this primary nutrient just how bad Read More…

Then in began to RAIN

Tubing on Sutton Lake was pretty difficult with all the debris.

A wise man once said, “Some days you win, some days you lose, some days it rains.” He was using a baseball metaphor to talk about life because when it rains, they stop the ballgame. Although I get what he meant, you can’t take this too literally because real life doesn’t stop when it rains, Read More…